Bournemouth University is delighted to be part of the Southwest Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP), one of the UK’s largest centres of postgraduate research training for social scientists including in the fields of Health, Wellbeing & Society, Psychology, Climate Change & Sustainability. Skip to any section of this page to find out more about the SWDTP and the fully funded studentships you could apply for:

About the SWDTP

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Southwest Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP), originally established in 2011, is a collaboration of social scientists from the universities of Bristol, Exeter, Bath, Plymouth, West England, Bath Spa, Plymouth Marjon and Bournemouth. Each institution is committed to providing excellent training, development and teaching for the postgraduate community across disciplinary and interdisciplinary research fields.

The SWDTP has educated over 5,000 Master’s and 1,600 doctoral students in the social sciences. The partnership draws on the established research excellence of the partners, including the expertise of more than 750 social science research staff. This represents one of the largest groupings of social scientists in the UK.

The SWDTP has been accredited to offer a hub of world-class social sciences research and support a wide variety of collaborative activities, including events and student placements in public, private and civic society organisations.

Fully funded studentships

The SWDTP offers +3 training where students register for a three-year PhD programme, and 1+3 training which includes one year of research training through a Master’s programme followed by a three-year PhD programme.

Bournemouth University is delighted to be a new SWDTP partner. We can support applicants to apply for competitive and prestigious fully funded ESRC studentships from the SWDTP. These are available through our disciplinary pathway or one of our innovative interdisciplinary pathways, to offer students the broadest possible approach to their studies at BU.

Research training pathways

The SWDTP has created several new and innovative training pathways which aim to tackle current national and international research priorities. The following research training pathways are available at Bournemouth University in one of many exciting departments situated in one of our four faculties:

Eligibility and further information

Students wishing to apply for ESRC funding can apply for either:

  • An MSc/MRes followed by PhD programme (1+3 award)
  • PhD only (+3 award)

However, students wishing to undertake PhD only (+3 awards) must meet the ESRC criteria in terms of previous Master’s level study and should read the SWDTP Guide to applying to the SWDTP for further information. Applicants may apply to one or more pathways, but please note the ESRC’s eligibility criteria for overseas and EU students.

Students applying for ESRC-funded scholarships must identify their chosen pathway prior to application in order to discuss their research ideas with a suitable supervisor.

Students are encouraged to look at ways of incorporating collaboration with external partners into their research proposal. Collaboration does not always have to be a financial arrangement and could take the form of a placement, voluntary work, data sharing or other payment in kind opportunities.

Students considering overseas fieldwork, overseas institutional visits or difficult language training should mention this in their application where possible.

As well as comprehensive research training, all students are encouraged to apply for a work placement during their time of study with us. Placements provide the opportunity for students to develop their research and transferable skills further in a non-academic environment. For more information on placements, please visit the partnership’s collaboration pages. Please see individual programme entries for programme structures.

Applying for a studentship

Please note: You must hold an offer from the Bournemouth University before applying for an ESRC studentship.

Step 1: Students must first apply to Bournemouth University for their desired MSc followed by PhD (1+3 award) or PhD only (+3 award) programme. Find out more about how to apply. On the university application form, students need to indicate that they wish to be considered for the ESRC studentship in the ‘fees and funding’ section and should also state this in the research proposal, which they can then develop with their preferred supervisor. You will be invited to have a “research conversation” about your proposal with the named supervisor and details of this will be sent to you in advance.  

Step 2: On receipt of an offer for your programme from Bournemouth University, students are then required to complete the SWDTP application. This comprises a Student Statement, Supervisor Statement and Equal Opportunities Form. Students must discuss their application with their prospective supervisor before submitting it.

Step 3: To be considered for an ESRC studentship at Bournemouth University, the SWDTP application must be emailed to the ESRC SWDTP Administrator at Bournemouth University: [email protected]

Step 4: Your application will be considered by the SWDTP for funding and you will be informed of the outcome by April 2024.

Further application information and documentation can be found on the SWDTP website.

Q&A Session

BU will host a Q&A session from 13:00 – 13:30 on Thursday 23 November 2023 to provide you with an opportunity to: 
• Find out more about the SWDTP and PhD study at the Bournemouth University
• Get advice on how to write a strong application for funding
• Learn more about the application process for studentships
• Ask any questions you have about SWDTP Studentships and studying at Bournemouth.

*Please contact [email protected] to confirm your attendance for the virtual information session.

Please include a few details about the subject area you are interested in and any supervisor that you have been in contact with or are planning to get in contact with.

Timescale for application process

The timescale of the application process is as follows: 

  • 1 December 2023: Deadline for submission of application to study at BU Successful applicants will then be required to develop application for SWDTP with their proposed supervisors.
  • 5 January 2024: Submit full ESRC Application to [email protected] which should include the Student Statement, Supervisor Statement and Equal Opportunities Form
  • 8 January 2024: BU Pathway Review Panels
  • 10 January 2024: BU Institutional Review Panel
  • 12 January 2024: Applications submitted to ESRC SWDTP
  • Early April 2024: Outcome of funding application from ESRC SWDTP 

More information

Further information can be found on the SWDTP’s webpages.

Collaboration, impact and placements

Any general enquiries relating to the SWDTP at Bournemouth University should be directed to [email protected]